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Teaching middle school students is perhaps one of the hardest jobs out there – it is, at least, oftentimes the most difficult teaching job. Elementary school students generally respect their adults and view their elementary school teachers as wonderful people who not just teach, but entertain them, as well. High school students no longer think of their teachers in such a way, but many have begun to realize the importance of education. Many have realized that “acting out” in class does not have its rewards.
But middle school… well, students in middle school are going through a bit of a transitional period. By the time students are entering the preteen age zone, the behavior patterns of many of these students undergoes a rapid change. Middle school students have begun to realize that they do not have to accept authority fully – there is a life beyond authority. Middle school students realize that they can challenge adults. This is why teaching middle school students can be difficult.
This preteen time is a time in which students are undergoing a ton of emotional, physical, social, and intellectual growth. Many students are entering into puberty and are experiences changes that they have to accept.
Interestingly, a majority of discipline problems from kindergarten through 12th grade occur in middle school (6th, 7th, and 8th grades). These three grades, less than 25% of the grade levels, actually represent the majority or near majority of discipline problems,
Teaching middle school students and teaching them well may seem like a hopeless feat when faced with these statistics and when faced with your own disruptive classes, but remember that not all students have problems with authority. Most students are quite respectful. The problem is just dealing with the few disruptive students so that they do not disrupt the rest of the class. So, what methods can be used to make teaching middle school students better and easier?
Teaching middle school students is easier if you have a smaller class size. Ideally, classes should only have 15 students – that way, students could get the individualized attention that they need, and students with have less opportunity and less reason to disrupt the class.
Alternative schools also offer a fantastic new way for teaching middle school students. For students who are not doing well in the regular system, an alternative school can really help. Not only do alternative schools potentially cut down drop-out rates and raise test scores, it takes the disruptive students out of the regular middle schools. It is a win win situation.
Teaching middle school students can be quite a task, but it can also be rewarding. Do not forget that there are many more “good” middle school students that “bad” ones, and sometimes the “bad” ones are simply misunderstood or need more attention.
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